Scientists in an Open Letter Ask Museums to Cut Ties With David Koch
A group of 39 scientists and experts has requested natural history museums to cut their ties with donors whose political agendas might conflict with their own view.
Scientists through an open letter published on Tuesday called for David Koch's removal from the boards of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of History in Washington, D. C.
The billionaire has donated $50 million to the Smithsonian and several million dollars to the American Museum of Natural History.
Scientists in the letter wrote, "We are deeply concerned by the links between museums of science and natural history with those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science".
It has been found that several subsidiaries of Koch Industries, the multinational corporation controlled by Koch and his brother Charles, derive the bulk of their profits from the petroleum and energy industries.
According to the letter, gifts and involvement of Koch with the museums tarnish the public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge.
Both museums have confirmed that Koch has no involvement in the content of exhibits. The Smithsonian has no plans to make any changes to its board, said press secretary John Gibbons.
Gibbons said Koch has no influence on the research they conduct and the exhibits they craft. Koch's personal views are not entwined at all, he said.
Ken Spain, Koch Industries' managing director for external affairs, declined to comment specifically on the letter.
But Spain said in an email that David Koch and the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation have pledged or contributed more than $1.2 billion dollars to educational institutions and cultural institutions in order to assist public policy organizations.
Mr. Koch remains committed to supporting these causes, he added.
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